All eyes should be on the Big Ten championship game next weekend. Why? Well, because the winner of this mega-showdown could end up playing in the College Football Playoff.
Of course, nothing is set in stone just yet, and it remains to be seen if the winner of this contest will go on to play on the biggest stage. Nonetheless, those will be the hopes for both the Wisconsin Badgers and Penn State Nittany Lions when they take the field against one another on Saturday.
In case you are wondering why the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes aren’t playing in the Big Ten championship game, let’s go down that path first.
While the Ohio State Buckeyes are ranked No. 2 in college football and have only lost one game (side note: Wisconsin and Penn State have two losses apiece), the Buckeyes lost to the Nittany Lions, a team that only has one loss in Big Ten play. As for Michigan, it had to beat Ohio State to make the Big Ten championship, and they failed. Wisconsin doesn’t play in the same division as Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan.
Wisconsin’s two losses came against Michigan and Ohio State. With that said, both contests were close. The Badgers lost to the Wolverines by seven points. They also lost to the Buckeyes by seven points, but that battle went to overtime. If they would have knocked off either team, then they would be playing for a spot in the playoff without a doubt. They still might be, but it remains to be seen what the College Football Playoff committee will do, especially since Ohio State, a one-loss team that also resides in the Big Ten, didn’t even make the Big Ten championship game.
Penn State’s losses came against the Pitt Panthers and Michigan. The Nittany Lions have that monster victory against the Buckeyes. As a result, they will make one heck of a case for the playoff if they win their conference championship.
Time will tell, and craziness will likely ensue.
Before one of the most meaningful conference championship games gets underway, let’s unleash some bold predictions.
Corey Clement Is The Best Player On The Field
Whether Corey Clement rushes for 100 yards or 300 yards, he will be the best player on the field when these two teams meet.
For the record, the running back has racked up four 100-yard rushing performances in a row. On the season, he has racked up a total of 1,140 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. If the Badgers plan on winning this game, Clement has to come up big.
Of course, one player doesn’t decide a football game.
The Score Is All Tied Up At 21 At The Half
This is arguably the most meaningful game of the week, so fans expect it to be close. Plus, both teams are on absolute fire, meaning you might as well take a coin and flip it when trying to figure out which squad will come out on top.
Penn State has won eight games in a row, while Wisconsin is riding a six-game winning streak into this big-stage showdown.
The score very well could be tied at 10 going into the half, but that’s why they are called bold predictions.
Penn State Wins The Thriller
Penn State’s biggest win is arguably the best win in college football in 2016. After all, it is against Ohio State, a team that many people think is the only team that can challenge Alabama for a national championship. Folks can call the Nittany Lions’ victory over the Buckeyes a fluke or whatever they want, but they won, which proves they are capable of knocking off any team in the country.
On paper, the Badgers have knocked off three top 10 teams in 2016 (at the time, of course), but those three victories (LSU Tigers, Michigan State Spartans, and Nebraska Cornhuskers) don’t look as impressive as they once did.
If you need a reason to believe in Penn State, this might do the trick: the Nittany Lions have scored 39 or more points in their last five outings.
The Badgers have enough talent to hang with the big boys of the Big Ten (they barely lost to Michigan and Ohio State, and are also playing in the Big Ten championship game, after all), but the Nittany Lions will be all smiles when the day comes to an end.
No matter which team comes out on top, will it be enough for the playoff committee? Now that’s the real question.
[Featured Image by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)